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Vendetta

I remember when this first aired, it came across as ultra intense.  It still has a lot of that flavor, despite fictional media being a lot more sophisticated these days.




I admit that I was so unobservant about anything beyond Starsky and Hutch's interaction in the series, that it took a fan friend in the 90s to point out to me that the Abbey in this episode is the same Abigail Crabtree that appeared in a few prior episodes.  But Abbey has had enough by the end of this one -- which is quite understandable.

Still, it makes for a fun, lazy scene at the park when Abbey is trying to get the overly-tired Hutch's attention.  

Starsky and Andrea must have gone to the Torino to make out, because otherwise, how would Starsky have heard the radio in the car?

Interesting that it's clearly afternoon when they get the call, and they're still in their leisure clothes when they visit the coroner about Jimmy Shannon's body.  But by the time they've changed clothes and switched to Hutch's car, it's night when they make their first visit to Artie Solkin.  

The big puzzle of this episode is... why does Hutch have such a beef with Artie Solkin?  There's a lot more going on here than Hutch being put off by a sleeze ball who contributes to the delinquency of minors.  It's like they have a history... or perhaps Artie touches something in Hutch's past history.

In any case, because Hutch is riled, Starsky goes into ultra-calm mode, and pretty much has to stay there throughout the episode.  But he's thoroughly aware of how unusual Hutch's behavior -- and his attempt to stare-down Artie  -- is in this first scene with Solkin, since he deadpans, "I can't take you out anymore, Hutch.  You keep insulting my friends."

Hutch's behavior also brings about the vendetta against him.

It's sweet in the squadroom when Hutch announces, "I'm tired", and Starsky wants them to go out together and get a hamburger.  (Because, you know, they haven't spent enough time with each other during the day -- blowing off time in the company of girls and all.)  Hutch turns him down with a gentle nudge.  

So, Hutch goes home, only to find a rat in his pitifully sparse refrigerator, and then get a brick thrown through his window.  In between those two incidents, he picks up the telephone and starts making a call.  Surely, it was to Starsky, to perhaps ask him if he had a rat in his own refrigerator.  Of course, after the brick, he definitely called Starsky.

Considering the mood Hutch was in during the day, and now this, it's pretty admirable that he's able to retain a sense of humor and encourage Starsky to get a beer from the refrigerator, so that Starsky can see the dead rat.  

It's almost too funny to the viewer when Hutch expresses concern that, "Whoever put that rat in my icebox, has a way to get through my front door."  Well, gee, what does he expect when he keeps his spare key in such an obvious place as over the door frame?  He never learns his lesson, considering how many times his apartment gets broken into in subsequent episodes.  (It's noteworthy that Starsky doesn't have such problems.)  

I love the scene in the hospital with Eckworth, and how Starsky uses his baseball knowledge to prod an otherwise difficult Eckworth into answering their questions.  Even Hutch is impressed.  It's all the more a sweet moment when Starsky pretends to bat a baseball when they emerge from the hospital.  

It's interesting that Starsky mentions having watched Eckworth play, in person, at the age of nine.  But he makes no mention of who took him to the game.  Was it his father?  We don't know what age he was when his father was murdered.  We do know he was still a child when he moved to California, since he babbled about Uncle Elmo's Toy Store in the scenario that's used at the beginning of both "Nightmare" and "The Crying Child".  Most boys who speak fondly of being at ball games as children usually also speak fondly of whoever it was that took them there.  Again, an interesting omission.  

I love when Hutch gets his hand blown up, in the sense that it's such a great reaction.  At first, he's stunned.  Then the pain sets in.  It's such a great collapse, cringe, and sob.  Of course, there's not a whole lot Starsky can do, except mutter "It's gonna be okay" over and over.  At least, they're conveniently just outside a hospital.  

Hutch still has a sense of humor when they're next in Dobey's office.  He's also endearingly needy when he asks Starsky to open his bottle of pills (which he never actually takes) and wonders where his jacket is.  It's almost reverse parent/child.  

Starsky has the experience of watching his hero fall, when Eckworth seems impatient and not eager to be helpful during the lineup.  It seems quite a poignant moment that he mentions to Hutch that after seeing Eckworth's homerun at the age of nine, "I thought he was the greatest man that ever lived."   He obviously isn't very impressed now.  Hutch's silence and simple touch on his arm, as they leave, feels full of compassion.  

I assume that when Solkin put the dead rat in Hutch's refrigerator is also when he found a picture of Abbey and stole it, so he could show Tommy who his next victim would be.

I'm not sure why they involve Abbey in their meeting with Huggy.  Besides which, Hutch finds her irritating when he's trying to be a cop.  I mean, being with a girl at this point in his life isn't doing him a whole lot of good.  It's not like regular sex is mellowing him out at all.  He's only happy when he's with Starsky.   

And as far as that restaurant scene goes, how come Starsky doesn't order anything?  And then looks all the starving waif when he sees Huggy with an ice cream treat?  

So, Abbey is planning on having a nice dinner with Hutch, in order to talk about possibly dumping him?  It sort of sounds like that, based on her phone conversation with a girlfriend, and her later decision.  

After Abbey is attacked, am I the only one who finds it rather off-putting that Hutch demands to know if she was raped?  I mean, it just seems like those sort of questions would come later.  But, for some reason, it's number one in his mind.  If she was brutally attacked in general, I doubt it would be the number one thing on her mind at that moment.  

Anyway, I guess when he tells her "it's my fault", he means because he wasn't at dinner on time.  Presumably, the attack wouldn't have happened then.

Hutch is on the warpath when they go to see Artie in the climatic scene, so it's all the more admirable that he's able to fall into a state of compassion, when he sees how pathetically ill Tommy is.  

A concerned Starsky suddenly appearing at the door, and then stepping in front of the hall lightbulb, is such a great visual.  

How sweet is it that Abbey felt compelled to tell Starsky she was leaving, before she told Hutch?  And the fact that, in all his confusion, Hutch yielded to Starsky's insistance and indulged his demand that Hutch "pick a card", and then read the name to him.  

We're just barely midway through the second season, and Abbey is the last of any attempt Hutch makes to have a long-term relationship.  With a girl, I mean.